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Chad Gardner with the Maumelle City Council report, ASBTDC to have annual 'accelHERate' on International Women's Day, After the storm plus news and sports headlines
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Big week for sad news
As milestones go, it was a big week for sad news.
Arkansas passed the 800,000 mark in active cases on Wednesday and then added to that on Thursday for a total of 802,198 since the ongoing pandemic began some 22 months ago.
Deaths also increased, and, as of Thursday, the total number of Arkansans who have died is at 9,937.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson said it would be, “not many days” before the state hit the 10,000 mark.
That previously unthinkable number could be hit by early next week, if not sooner.
The forecast numbers from the Centers for Disease Control continue to be improbably bad, as seen below.
Where will the death toll end? Given the state’s low vaccination rate numbers, still barely over 50 percent, it seems reasonable and prudent to believe a couple thousand more of our neighbors and friends are already dead and just don’t know it.
Just looking at reported cases, there’s been not quite 235,000 added this year. The case count was at 567,824 on Jan. 2. As of today, Feb. 10, it is 802,198. The delta and omicron variants have had their way in Arkansas and even a fraction of a percent is still so many people.
What’s interesting, at least in a very morbid way, if you look at the number from 2020, the contrast is so stark.
June 2, 2020 — 7,818 cases, 136 deaths.
June 3, 2020 — 8,067 cases, 142 deaths
June 4, 2020 — 8,425 cases, 151 deaths
Go back and look at that June 3 number. It is 8,067. Today’s number is 802,198. You want to do the math on that percentage increase?
Don’t. It will just depress you.
Think of yourself in June 2020, as you hoped and prayed that a vaccine would come. That you hoped and prayed that you or no one you knew would die, alone, in a hospital bed. As loved ones watched on an iPad and unable to communicate because of a ventilation tube.
Remember the people you know who have died that way.
May their memory be a blessing.
If you don’t want to get sick and die, there’s some things you can do: Get vaccinated Get boosted Wear a mask Avoid crowds
Schools districts continue to have high rates of Covid infections
The Arkansas Center for Health Improvement said on Thursday morning that all but nine of Arkansas’s 234 contiguous public school districts have Covid-19 infection rates of 50 or more new known infections per 10,000 district residents over a 14-day period, the ACHI said in a press release.
Those numbers are based on the ACHI’s analysis of Arkansas Department of Health data current as of Monday.
ACHI’s latest update of the school districts map on its COVID-19 dashboard, available at achi.net/covid19, shows that nine districts are in the “orange zone” for having 14-day infection rates of 30 to 49 new known infections per 10,000 residents. This is the first time in four weeks that any district has had a 14-day infection rate below 50 new known infections per 10,000 residents.
The nine districts in orange are Dumas, Earl, Fouke, Genoa Central, Lafayette County, Mount Ida, Ouachita River, Strong-Huttig, and Texarkana.
Of the remaining 225 districts on the map, 109 are shaded red for 14-day infection rates of 50 to 99 new known infections per 10,000 residents, up from 12 last week; 114 are shaded purple for 14-day infection rates of 100 to 199 new known infections per 10,000 residents, or at least 1% of the local population, down from 118 last week; and two are shaded pink for 14-day infection rates of 200 or more new known infections per 10,000 residents, or at least 2% of the local population, down from 104 last week.
To read more, click Schools districts continue to have high rates of Covid infections
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The Maumelle City Council meeting began this week on Monday with a financial report on how the city ended 2021. For the year ending Dec 31, 2021, the city’s revenues exceeded expenses by $1.6 million which gives the city’s general fund a balance of $4.2 million.
Finance Director Liz Mathis also reported the 2018 audit has been completed and copies of the audit were distributed to the council. A formal presentation will be made to the council at the next meeting. Mathis also informed us that the auditors will be on-site in the coming weeks to begin the 2019 audit. In the coming months, the city will bid out the 2020-2022 audits and select a vendor. The goal for the finance department is to complete the 2019 audit soon and then complete the 2020 audit by June 30. At that point, they’ll move right into the 2021 audit during the second half of this year. Great progress has been made to get the city back on track with our audits and because of all the hard work by our finance department we will be able to catch up and have all audits completed this year.
Moving to old business, the O’Reilly Senior Living project was back for its second reading this week and it will be voted on at the last meeting in February. There was limited discussion about this project during the council meeting, but the applicants did take some time to answer questions about economic growth that happens around their communities. Typically, residents in these senior living centers have dollars to spend, so they add economic value to the surrounding area. I supported this project the first time, and I continue to feel this will be of great value to our city and is a housing option that is needed for those that want to age in place and continue to live in Maumelle.
In other old business, we had the second reading of the city’s new map for ward redistricting. This is a process the city goes through after the completion of each census where we rebalance the population within our wards. There was no discussion on this and it will be voted on at the next meeting.
In new business, the council appointed Craig Johnson and Pat Landes to four-year terms on the Planning Commission. Johnson has served on the Planning Commission for many years and his service and expertise is greatly appreciated. Landes is a new appointee and will bring a wealth of planning and development knowledge and will be a great addition to the commission.
The council had the first reading of an ordinance that would provide for a new grading permit in the city. Simply put, this will help streamline the process when development is taking place and allow site preparation to begin prior to a building permit being issued. There are also components for tree protection and replanting that will be required.
The council approved a townhome project that will be in front of the Country Club of Arkansas on the right side of the entrance to the golf course. This project will consist of 29 lots that will be individually owned. These will be three bedroom, two bath townhomes with a two-car garage, upstairs balcony, and downstairs patio. One of the unique features of this property is that property owners will have no lawn to maintain, and all green space will be part of the common areas and maintained by the property owner’s association. I expect this will be a popular addition to the community for individuals who do not want to maintain a yard and/or live close to the golf course. I’ve attached pictures of the front of these units as well as the 1st and 2nd floor plans and they’re below.
Lastly, the council approved a resolution allowing the city to participate in the settlement regarding the nationwide class action opioid legislation.
During Mayor’s comments, Mayor Caleb Norris informed us that Crystal Hill Road construction is progressing and has a completion date of June 10. This could change based on weather, but that is the targeted completion date for now.
Due to President’s Day on Feb. 21, the next council meeting will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 22.
Please let me know if you have any questions or comments! Thanks, Chad, 501-529-1336, firstname.lastname@example.org
Women interested in starting or growing their own companies can learn from other women who are excelling in research, innovation and business at “accelHERate,” presented by the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center.
On March 8, International Women’s Day, the center will hold two “accelHERate” forums live on Zoom. This marks the fifth consecutive year for the center to host accelHERate and the second year for the virtual format.
Each session has its own lineup of four speakers.
The panel for the 12-1:30 p.m. session:
Dr. Dale McManis, CEO of NeuroMed Pro
Dr. Karen Ballard, co-founder and CEO of B&B Legacy Farms
Yessica Jones, delivery management manager at Microsoft
Daniel Dozier, CEO of GSS Group
Speakers for the 2-3:30 p.m. session, hosted by the Arkansas State University ASBTDC:
Luna Acosta, director of intellectual property and marketing, director of Catalyst Innovation Center, Arkansas State University
Tiffny Calloway, director of operations, Delta Population Health Institute, New York Institute of Technology
April Roy, CEO of femPAQ
Dr. Hilary Schloemer, assistant professor of management, Arkansas State University Neil Griffin College of Business
Each will share lessons learned and advice for budding entrepreneurs. Topics will include management and growth strategies, startup mistakes and how to avoid them, key skills for entrepreneurial success and research commercialization strategies. A question-and-answer period will follow.
There is no cost to participate. Register at asbtdc.org/asbtdc-events or here:
For more information, contact Rebecca Todd at email@example.com or 501-916-6721.
As of Thursday, there's still some snow on the ground. At least for those in north facing homes or have extremely shady yards.
Forecast highs are in the 60s and like after every winter storm, there's concerns about what to do with what was left behind.
Maumelle Mayor Caleb Norris said the city has a plan for that.
"Typically after a big storm," Norris said last week. The city "has a policy where we will pick up things we wouldn't normally pick up."
An example might be a big limb that came down because of last week's snow and ice.
"So we may not pick up big branches without a special pickup that charges," Norris said. "That's not the case after a storm. We will pick those things up complimentary, you just have to call public works and schedule it."
The number for public works is 501-851-2512.